pepper jelly 'syrup' remedy?

teresa_nc7September 3, 2006

Today I tried a new pepper jelly recipe that sounded great: dried apricots, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper. The recipe had 2 1/2 cups vinegar AND 1 1/2 cups water? I thought at the time that was a lot of liquid. was. I now have jars of pepper jelly syrup.

Is there anyway to remedy this mistake. All the jars sealed just fine, but this stuff is never going to set up firm I fear. I'll see what it looks like in the morning.

Thanks for any suggestions.


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readinglady(z8 OR)

I'm trying to figure out what the water would have to do with it. The original Habanero Gold (I'm assuming it's a variation of that recipe with jalapenos instead.) calls for 3/4 cup vinegar and no water to one package of liquid pectin.

Aside from the jelling issue there may be a safety issue. The water dilutes the vinegar and the sugar, both of which are important to the safety and keeping qualities of the jelly.

It would help to see the entire recipe for the other amounts. How much pectin did this recipe call for?

I'm not sure what could be done, but if we see the entire recipe we may be able to come up with a salvage. Definitely it would need to be cooked to drive off that water.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 11:43PM
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Thanks, Carol!

Here is the total ingredients list:

6 oz. diced dried apricots
3/4 c. chopped red bell pepper
1/4 c. chopped jalenpeno pepper
2 1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 1/2 c. water
1 pkg. dry pectin (Sure jel)
6 c. sugar

If this "syrup" cannot be reprocessed, would it be safe to keep it in the refrigerator and maybe make BBQ sauce with it or use it up as an egg roll sauce, etc.?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 8:27AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Most pepper jellies I've seen call for liquid pectin, so this is a bit less familiar.

OK, that recipe isn't on the Sure-Jell site but I did find a pepper jelly that used 5 3/4 cups of liquid for 1 package of Sure-Jell pectin, so apparently whoever came up with this recipe was within range.

Now that I know that it's dry pectin and the amount of sugar, I think the first thing you should do is wait a few days to see if it will set up. You're OK for safety.

If it doesn't set, you have several options:

1. Continue to wait. Even with commercial pectin, a pepper jelly can take as long as 6 weeks to set. If it doesn't, use it as syrup in bastes. Even over blocks of cream cheese or stirred in it would be fine for appetizers.

2. Open, bring to heat, add a tablespoon or two of pectin and re-process. Just be careful not to overcook it. I'd rather leave it thin because the flavor will still be good.

3. Thicken individual jars before use with ClearJel, Cornstarch or Arrowroot, any of the non-cloudy thickeners. Even a bit of plain Knox gelatin pre-softened in a little water could be used. That way you have total control and only thicken those jars of jelly that you're not using in bastes or sauces.

I hope this helps. Let us know how things turn out. It does sound like a good-tasting recipe.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 10:02AM
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You have been such a help, Carol - thank you!

In the past, I have had uneven results using liquid pectin, so I tend to skip over recipes that call for it. The flavor is good, so I plan to leave the jars as is for now and see if they thicken over time.

I still have some apricots and peppers - and I found some hidden jars this morning, so I may make another batch after I go to the store for vinegar and Certo.

I have two bowls in the fridge that I did not have jars for yesterday and it did thicken a little after chilling but it is not "jelled."

Thanks again, Carol!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:13AM
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Just took out a batch of Hot "N Sweet Confetti Jelly from its BWB. I used the Ball Fruit Jell liquid pectin this time and I think it should set up fine. This was about the same recipe that I made yesterday, diced apricots, red bell pepper, jalapenos, white vinegar, sugar and the liquid pectin. The recipe called for some minced red onion too, but I decided I wanted to use up the entire red bell pepper - at their prices! - so I left out the onion.

This recipe says it is by Carol? Is that you dishesdone?

Looks really pretty too!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 3:51PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Nope, it's me. I'm on CF once in a while for bread talk but mainly hang out here.

That recipe was my way of getting a higher yield out of the (expensive) liquid pectin and reducing the necessity to keep spinning to distribute the peppers in the finished batch. It gets to be more of a problem when you're dealing with double the jars.

It falls within the same safe range as the original Bernardin Habanero Gold recipe, though I did increase the dried apricots (which I really like).

I prefer the Ball to the Certo. I've had better luck with it and don't detect as much of an aftertaste (chemical).

Carol (the other one).

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 4:03PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

I made this same type of pepper jelly last year and it did not set up. I had six or seven jars of it to get rid of and I've still got one more. I used it as a dip for egg rolls, in sweet and sour sauce for stir fry, in dressing for coleslaw, to dip chicken strips in, and over cream cheese as a dip, (still works even when runny.) You could use it for barbecue, etc., but I don't eat that much meat. Due to all the sugar it burns easily so only baste on meat at the end of the cooking time, or thin with something else. Mine firmed up over time but only a little.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 8:21PM
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The "spinning" technique really worked well. The confetti jelly appears to be set and the apricots and peppers are suspended "loverly" in the jelly.

Thanks for the recipe and the technique!


    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 9:27PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Great! I'm glad it worked so well for you Teresa. It is a pretty jelly, isn't it? It definitely makes lovely gifts.

Have you tried the cheddar thumbprint cookies using pepper jelly?

lpinkmountain, I haven't tried it, but I was just thinking this jelly would also be good with tofu.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 9:47PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

That's how I used up most of my "hot pepper apricot syrup" from last year, as a stir fry sauce with tofu and fresh chopped veggies like broccoli, pea pods, carrots, celery, summer squash, scallions etc. Could have used chicken or pork too if I ate much meat. Chinese five spice powder (which I don't like) would be a good addition. I use a thai seasoning mix from McCormick. Garlic and ginger would be natural compliments, with corriander as another option. I don't like cloves and anise which are in the five spice stuff, but it is popular. I can see the cloves as an addition to a pork dish with this sauce.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:00PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I've had some good luck with 5-spice but used very sparingly. I routinely drastically reduce the amount called for. That star anise is particularly potent.

For example, Penzey's pickling spice has a high proportion of star anise. I've found it really enhances pickles, but only if I cut their pickling spice with another, more conventional mixture.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 1:34AM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

I made a peach hot pepper jelly/jam last year that didn't set at all at first, so I reprocessed it the next day. In the cooking it down it went almost too far and is VERY firm now. I left one or two at the original thickness, a little runny. It tastes hotter than the later ones, some hotness must have cooked out. I haven't used it much, gave some to a guy who really liked it, though. I should put it in stir fries and with tofu, because we actually eat tofu sometimes . . .

Marcia, who canned peaches and grape juice tonight (3 quarts each) and am starting on mango jam.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 2:10AM
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I have been making pepper jelly for decades, always using just sugar, some hot peppers ground up with some bell peppers, sugar and vinegar. For the past few years none of the Certo has jelled my jellies and I'm about to pull my hair out. NOTHING has changed with the way I make this and I used Certo years, decades ago, but I frankly think their formula has changed/diluted. I have had to remake the jelly sometimes three times which turns out to cost me tons and make each little Christmas gift worth over ten bucks a bottle. This is getting maddening. Someone surely must have a solution to getting the Certo recipe to work. I folled it down to the nth degree exactly and all I have is runny syrup. I'm not going through this again this year. HELP!!
I need someone's input who has solved this problem with the Certo and knows how to make the jelly jell the First TIME.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 8:03PM
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mom2wildboys(RI zone6)

I had the same thing happen to me a couple of years ago (forget which recipe I used) and I ended up using the syrupy jars as a dipping sauce for my jalapeno poppers. It was really great with the poppers, and I'd actually like to make some on purpose this year! :)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 10:18AM
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bob_in_pc(z8 FL)

My recipe I use for Hab-Apricot pepper jelly:

1 and 1/2 cups of minced dried apricots.
1 and 1/2 cups of minced, de-seeded habanero-type peppers.(I normally use Caribbean Reds because I like the color contrast and taste of course).
2 cups of apple cider vinegar.
6 cups of sugar.
1 package of liquid pectin.

So far, it always sets and comes out nicely.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 10:45AM
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If you can't get it fixed - don't worry - it makes a fantastic glaze on pork tenderloin or chicken or ham and is good on sandwiches.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 11:09AM
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